CHENNAI: Even as the rain threatened to play spoilsport, the 41st Chennai Book Fair on St George’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School grounds, kicked off to a lukewarm response on Wednesday. In its forty-first year, the book fair, one of the largest annual events, has attempted to change with the times.
Said S Vairavan, president of The Booksellers & Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI), that organises the fair, “This year, we have brought in a robot that can help customers find the right stall numbers.”
As for the rain expected in the next two days, he said they have made arrangements to ensure the fair goes on uninterrupted.
The fair will go on till January 22, with 708 stalls – 428 Tamil and 234 English stalls apart from others.
Speaking after inaugurating the event, Minister of School Education K A Sengottaian said the government has planned to purchase more books for libraries. For the first phase, books worth `25 crore would be purchased by month end.
He also gave away this year’s best publisher Pathipaga Semmal K Ganapathy award to Sethu Chokalingam of Kavitha publications and the best English Writer RK Narayan award was given to R Rajarajan.
The Best Seller Pathipaga Semmal Sa Meyyappan award went to M Periyasamy of Sri Eswar Enterprises.
Ponniyin Selvan, the Tamil classic is now repackaged in a comic format to get children read it.
“It helps children understand Tamil culture and history,” said Prashanth N, technical manager, Nila comics.
“It is a fortnightly. So far, three issues have been released in Tamil and two in English,” he added.
2D film in the offing
With lively illustrations from M Karthikeyan, the comic may succeed in bringing to life characters of Kalki Krishnamurthy’s magnum opus- Vandiyathevan, Arulmozhivarman, Periya Pazhavetturayar and Nandhini.
However, the comics are not for everyone. Priced at `145 an issue, reading the 125 issues that complete the novel may prove to be a costly affair for some. Makers argue the quality of the issues are worth every penny. “We have made sure that the comics are of the best quality,” said Prashanth.
In six dots of the Braille language
From the six dots that form a basic grid and 64 different configurations created by it, the love between a man and a woman, the power play that brings their world down — all a part of Sujatha’s popular work ‘Roja’ comes to life for some.
The Indian Association for the Blind (IAB) has been setting up a stall for Braille books at the Chennai book fair for about two years now. While they have had decent patronage, of which Sujatha’s novels seem to be popular, it has not been a bed of roses. “We don’t get the unicode that is essential for printing Braille books. So the options are largely limited,” said Kumaravel P, who works in IAB. The books are priced according to the pages- `2.5 per page.